Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hotgry rant

Okay, I'm cautious around bikers when I'm driving. Chicago's got a bunch of marked bike lanes on the streets, and cyclists deserve a little space.

However. When I am standing still on the sidewalk, I do not think there's any expectation that I need to be cautious because fast-moving cyclists have the right of way. They don't! Ben and I were watching a school bus unload on our street (I don't know what Fred's Camp is, but it has a school bus), when suddenly this old dude on a bike comes whizzing past from behind us—and hollers at me. "Watch out! Your life may depend on it one day!"

Asshole. I'm standing still on the sidewalk and I'm supposed to check over my shoulder for rapidly approaching vehicles? I don't think so.

Stunned, I could only think to say "Up yours" in reply. And then he gave me—and my child!—the finger. (What a class act.)

What I should have said, of course, is "Get off the damned sidewalk, jerk."

It's actually the law here that a cyclist over the age of 12 can't be on the sidewalk. From the Chicago Municipal Code:

9-52-020. Riding bicycles on sidewalks and certain roadways.

(b) No person 12 or more years of age shall ride a bicycle upon any sidewalk in any district, unless such sidewalk has been officially designated and marked as a bicycle route.

My outrage at this man's assholish transgression is somewhat heightened by the fact that I'm a little hangry and a little hotgry (which is a word I just coined for being hot and cranky). But the anger is fiery righteous anger, because he was so clearly in the wrong and yet hollered at me.

Plus, he hollered at a Published Author. That's right: Today is publication day! My book is probably not physically in any bookstores just yet, but you can buy it online from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Or, if you're in the U.K., from your local Amazon. Or from in South Africa. At some point, there should be cardboard displays for the book in Borders stores, and when there are, I will go stand beside it and make someone take a picture.

There's also a podcast that mentions the book and wraps it in an cozy etymological blanket.


E. said...

Hooray for your and your book! And a big fat bad finger to the badly behaved biker. I ride my bike all over my town, and it annoys me when other bicyclists give the rest of us a bad name. Of course you're not supposed to ride on the sidewalk! (Unless you're a little kid, as the Chicago law wisely allows.)

Actually, studies show that it's safer for bikers to ride on the street than the sidewalk - many fewer collisions and injuries, for obvious reasons. But if ever an adult rider feels that it really is safer for them to hit the sidewalk for a stretch on a busy street, then it's on them both to slow down and to watch out, and they should feel very chagrined if they even come close to clipping a pedestrian.

Orange said...

I think this guy had been whizzing down the street and just didn't want to slow down for the school bus, so he moved up to the sidewalk without decelerating—with his speedometer and assholeometer both set to 11 (as it were).

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the book!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! As a long time cyclist I have to agree that your rider was a donkey-aperture. May your book sales get off the sidewalk and onto the highway!

K said...

Grats on the book!

As I just biked home from the Loop to Edgewater, I growl at bad bikers. It's hard enough to bike in the city than to also have to deal with those who give us a bad name. Really. In Edgewater the ticket for biking on the sidewalk is $250. Good.
The Lake-path is horrid--people don't know how to share. Had a runner on Saturday, meandering just next to the yellow and his anorexic girl loping next to him in front of me while bikes are coming the other way, tell me to "go around him". As if.

Narya said...

Oh, I am SOOOO with you. I have a tendency to yell, "It's a sideWALK, not a sideRIDE!!"

But you're a published author!!!! [It's your line, Homer] "Doh!" [Other line.] WOO-HOO!!

amusing said...

Wahoo! Let us all make sure we run (virtually, of course) to Amazon to give RAVE REVIEWS to this book!

Are we starting a pool on when it hits the bestseller list?